Domestic Economy Expands 3.3% in 2001; Gov't Projects 4.0 to 4.5% GDP Growth This Year

Article excerpt

Byline: EDU H. LOPEZ

The Philippine economy was estimated to have expanded by 3.3 percent in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) 2001, boosted by 4.01 percent growth in agriculture and 4.2 percent in services, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Dante Canlas announced yesterday.

Canlas said the growth rate met expectations last year.

GDP for 2002 is projected to grow by 4 to 4.5 percent for 2002, higher than the expected 3.3 percent growth in 2001.

Aside from good weather in 2001, the government's revitalized support for agriculture through the distribution of seeds, rehabilitation of irrigation facilities and the use of modern equipment especially in the fishery sector contributed to the strong advance in agriculture.

Services continued its advance, supported by telecommunications, trade and private services. "We project the services sector to have grown by at least 4.2 percent for 2001," said Canlas.

The industry sector was expected to grow by 1.6 percent for the full year of 2001. Canlas noted that the terrorist attacks in the US on Sept. 11 last year has effectively delayed the recovery of Philippine exports with 20 percent of the total goes to the US.

The economy was able to generate 2.3 million jobs last year. Services account for 1.2 million, agriculture with 900,000 and industry with 23,000.

Canlas said that with the favorable development in the labor market, household demand for goods and services remained strong.

Income losses of the laid-off workers in the manufacturing sector appeared to have been offset by the income remittances of Filipino overseas workers to keep the permanent disposable income robust.

Inflation has eased from 6.9 percent in January to 3.9 percent in December 2001 as household disposable income further improved.

Canlas said he expects a stronger economic growth this year, backed by the government's macro-economic policies for stability and the Arroyo administration's commitment to structural reforms. …